September 20, 2017 / 3:24 AM / in 9 months

Fowler sparks Cardinals to win over Reds in 10 innings

Fowler sparks Cardinals to win over Reds in 10 innings

CINCINNATI — The St. Louis Cardinals have been seeking big hits all season. On Tuesday night, Dexter Fowler delivered two of them to help keep their postseason hopes afloat.

Fowler tied the score with a solo home run in the eighth inning and drove home the go-ahead run with a double in the 10th, lifting the Cardinals to an 8-7 victory over the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.

“Obviously you want to be that guy all the time,” Fowler said. “Just try to take good at-bats and see where it takes you. It was a good team win tonight.”

Fowler led off the eighth with his career-high tying 17th home run, which caromed off the glove of a leaping Scott Schebler in center to tie the score at 6.

Kolten Wong was hit by a pitch from Tim Adleman (5-11) to begin the 10th. Two batters later, Fowler put the Cardinals ahead with a double, and Fowler later scored on Paul DeJong’s two-out single.

“What’s been the one missing element, it’s been that big hit,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “Right on time. It shows what kind of team this club is. We keep swinging. Great fight and effort, all the way around.”

The Cardinals (78-72) snapped a three-game losing streak but still trail the first-place Chicago Cubs by six games in the National League Central standings.

Juan Nicasio (4-5) earned the victory after pitching 1 1/3 innings, allowing a run on two hits. Scooter Gennett homered off Nicasio to make it a one-run game leading off the bottom of the 10th. Tyler Lyons retired both batters he faced to earn his third save.

The teams used eight pitchers apiece.

“We leaned on the bullpen heavily,” Matheny said. “They did a great job.”

Zack Cozart hit a two-homer in the third inning for Cincinnati (66-85), which had its seven-game winning streak at Great American Ball Park and three-game overall win streak snapped.

Sacrifice flies by Adam Duvall and Schebler put Cincinnati ahead 6-5 in the sixth inning.

Jesse Winker led off the game with a double off Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty and scored on Joey Votto’s single to put the Reds ahead 1-0. Cincinnati added a second run on Patrick Kivlehan’s sacrifice fly in the second.

By then, the Cardinals already had someone warming in their bullpen. Flaherty lasted only two innings, allowing two earned runs and three hits.

“We had a close eye on him,” said Matheny. “He had a short leash going in.”

John Gant replaced Flaherty on the mound, but a single by Winker and Cozart’s 23rd home run of the season made it 4-0 to begin the third inning.

Meanwhile, Reds starter Jackson Stephens retired the first 10 batters he faced before Tommy Pham’s single in the fourth. The Cardinals had three straight singles including Jose Martinez’s RBI hit to drive in their first run.

“I wasn’t going to walk anyone,” Stephens said. “I didn’t want to give anything away. I didn’t execute pitches and they hurt me.”

Things got worse for Stephens in a hurry.

Yadier Molina crushed a 1-1 pitch from Stephens into the second deck of the bleachers in left field for a three-run homer, tying the score 4-4. It was Molina’s 18th homer of the season

DeJong, the next batter, put the Cardinals ahead 5-4 with his 23rd homer to center. It was the ninth set of back-to-back homers allowed this season by Reds pitchers.

“Typically, it comes down to execution,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “(Stephens) got the first 10 guys out. He fell behind 2-0 on Pham, he got a hit and the next two guys got hits, then the home runs. Probably not the best location.”

NOTES: Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright was reinstated from the disabled list and will be used as a reliever. He had been out since mid-August because of a right elbow injury. ... Cardinals 3B Jedd Gyorko, making his first start since being reinstated from the DL on Wednesday, went 0-for-4. ... Reds CF Billy Hamilton began hitting off a tee and playing catch. He could return initially as a pinch runner. Hamilton is on the DL because of a fractured left thumb. ... Reds INF Patrick Kivlehan made his second start of the season at third base with Eugenio Suarez away from the team for a few days awaiting the birth of his daughter.

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